DRIVING THE CONVERSATION: “GOP platform calls for ‘America first’ trade policy, drops call for marriage amendment” by Tal Kopan: “The draft language shared with CNN also would slightly alter the party’s position on Israel, reinstating a reference to an “undivided” Jerusalem and removing a reference to Palestine in support of a two-state solution. The language was shared with members of the Platform Committee by the Republican National Committee at an orientation on Sunday night as the events in Cleveland began.” [CNN; JewishInsider]
“Donald Trump Keeps Distance in G.O.P. Platform Fight on Gay Rights” by Jeremy Peters:“Paul E. Singer, a billionaire Republican who has financed gay rights battles across the country, is now funding an effort to write into the platform language more inclusive of gays, lesbians and transgender people. The goal of his group, the American Unity Fund, is not to get the party to endorse same-sex marriage but to add a more open-ended statement that commits the party “to respect for all families,” though there is still fierce resistance from the right.” [NYTimes]
Clinton Supporters Defeat ‘Occupation’ Language at Platform Committee Meeting: On the second day of the platform committee’s two-day meeting in Orlando, Florida, supporters of Bernie Sanders proposed an amendment that would add “an end to occupation and illegal settlements so they may live in” to the original language. The proposal was voted down 95-73. The committee also rejected an amendment to “rebuild Gaza which the UN warns could be uninhabitable by 2020, and where poverty and hopelessness undermine peace and security for both Palestinians and Israelis” (95 vs. 72). Another amendment to remove the military option from the Iran non-compliance language failed 67-98. [JewishInsider; WSJ]
Bruce Abramson & Jeff Ballabon: “The arrival of a partisan pro-Israel group to AIPAC’s right will dethrone the Israel monopolist but not destroy it… The pro-Israel community should push AIPAC to reposition itself with a clear eye on contemporary reality. AIPAC can best serve the pro-Israel cause by redeploying its formidable assets to help pro-Israel, national-security-conscious Democrats defeat the anti-Israel progressives ascendant in their party—certainly the most effective way to ensure continued bipartisan support for Israel.” [TabletMag]
Michael Wilner looks at Clinton’s VP candidates’ views on Israel and Iran: “Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, considered a front runner for the appointment, was one of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s harshest critics during the debate over Iran in 2015. He characterized Netanyahu’s speech to Congress as “highly inappropriate,” and was one of eight senators to boycott the event. He enthusiastically supported the nuclear agreement. Kaine is listed as an “On the Street” candidate worthy of campaign donations by J Street, a Washington-based group which primary lobbies in favor of a two-state solution.” [JPost]
In interview with C-SPAN, Senator Al Franken discusses being considered as a vice presidential pick for Hillary Clinton: “I think there’ll be a lot of other great vice presidential choices for Hillary. I love serving the people of Minnesota.” C-SPAN: “But if she said, ‘Al Franken, I need you as my running mate. I can win with you.’ What would you say?” AF: “I’d say, ‘Okay! You sure? Are you sure, really? Explain why.’ I was asked this on the Lawrence O’Donnell show, would any senator turn her down, and I said, ‘I don’t know, I don’t think so.’ But I think a lot of them would be surprised.” [CSPAN]
TOP TALKER: “Trump Elected? For Justice Ginsburg, There’s Always New Zealand” by Adam Liptak: “I can’t imagine what this place would be — I can’t imagine what the country would be — with Donald Trump as our president,” she said. “For the country, it could be four years. For the court, it could be — I don’t even want to contemplate that.” It reminded her of something her husband, Martin D. Ginsburg, a prominent tax lawyer who died in 2010, would have said. “‘Now it’s time for us to move to New Zealand,’” Justice Ginsburg said, smiling ruefully.” [NYTimes]
“Donald Trump’s Comments Intensify Concerns Among Republican Donors” by Rebecca Ballhaus and Beth Reinhard: “Donald Trump’s refusal to denounce a tweet that critics call anti-Semitic is intensifying concerns among Republican donors—particularly those who are Jewish—about giving to his campaign. “I’m waiting for him to come forward as a statesman, and so far he hasn’t done it,” said Walter Stern, a longtime RJC board member… The RJC hasn’t weighed in on the debate over the tweet and isn’t expected to.” [WSJ]
BUSINESS BRIEFS: “U.F.C. Sells Itself for $4 Billion to a group led by Ari Emanuel’s talent giant WME-IMG” [NYTimes] • “Israeli start-up Sling acquired by Brazilian micro-credit giant, Avante” [JPost] • “Bruce Ratner seeks $6.2M in tax breaks for complex by Coliseum” [Newsday] • “Will ‘American Dream’ at Meadowlands ever become a reality?” [NJ1015] • “ZUtA demos its mobile robotic printer” [TechCrunch] • “This Israeli Company Uses Military Principles To Build Scalable Businesses” [Forbes] • “David Geffen now documenting luxe lifestyle on Instagram” [NYPost]
SPOTLIGHT: “Murdoch Sons May Finally Oust Roger Ailes From Fox News” by Gabriel Sherman: “Throughout his five-decade career in media and Republican politics, Roger Ailes has demonstrated a remarkable talent for self-preservation. “I have been through about 12 train wrecks in my career. Somehow, I always walk away,” he boasted in the mid-’90s to a senior NBC executive who’d alleged Ailes hurled an anti-Semitic comment at him. As the head of Fox News, Ailes deployed his survival skills frequently to weather scandals of career-ending proportions and a bitter power struggle with Rupert Murdoch’s oldest son, Lachlan. But in the wake of Gretchen Carlson’s shocking sexual-harassment lawsuit against Ailes, there are signs that the 76 year-old’s luck may have finally expired.” [NYMag]
STARTUP NATION: “As Online Video Surges, Publishers Turn to Automation” by John Herrman: “A growing number of publishers have turned to technology that promises to streamline video production, sometimes to the point of near-full automation. The market for this service is largely split between two companies, Wochit and Wibbitz, which both maintain offices in New York City and Tel Aviv. “The way we see it, we can help you increase your video inventory in a very significant way,” said Zohar Dayan, a co-founder and chief executive of Wibbitz.” [NYTimes]
“Old Middle East Foes Unite Over Gas Deals and Fighting Militants” by David Wainer, Jonathan Ferziger and Ahmed Feteha: “Nearly four decades after their peace accord changed the face of the Middle East, Israel and Egypt are slowly turning a cool relationship into an alliance. They have tightened security cooperation to unprecedented levels and have been laying the legal groundwork for a multi-billion dollar energy contract, as gas discoveries in the Mediterranean and the persistent threat from Islamist militants shift the political dynamics across the region.” [Bloomberg; Time]
KAFE KNESSET — by Amir Tibon & Tal Shalev: It’s going to be a long night at the Knesset, with the “NGO Transparency Bill” up for a final vote. The controversial bill, promoted by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, requires that NGOs receiving more than 50% of their funding from foreign governments disclose that fact on every official document they produce, and also in any public activity they pursue. The bill is strongly opposed by the U.S. government as well as by many European governments.
Israel’s opposition has been fiercely fighting the bill, which almost exclusively targets left-leaning NGOs, while placing no similar restrictions on organizations and groups which receive significant funding from private donors abroad – a financing method more common among right-wing groups in Israel. Ahead of the final vote, the wording of the bill was softened in an effort to satisfy critics; most notably, a clause in the original bill demanding NGO representatives to wear special ‘name tags’ when they appear in the Knesset was thrown out. But the coalition refused to concede to the opposition’s demand to apply the same legislation to NGOs that receive private foreign donations.
Prime Minister Netanyahu’s expanded 66 member coalition ensures that the bill is likely to pass, but the opposition has submitted over 1000 reservations for discussion, meaning that the vote will take hours and last into the night, perhaps even until the following morning. The coalition is on the way to score a victory in one of its landmark legislation pieces… but they will arrive quite exhausted at the finish line.
LongRead: “The Last Nazi Hunter” by Stav Ziv: “Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff has spent four decades doggedly chasing Holocaust criminals, but when his pursuit led him to Lithuania, the fight got personal.” [Newsweek]
“Touring Auschwitz the Week After Elie Wiesel’s Death” by Jonathan Alter: “This week, just after the death of Eli Wiesel, I traveled with my family to Auschwitz, the largest crime scene in world history. Last week’s Wiesel obituaries were all fine, but they couldn’t fully bear witness to his ordeal. The important thing for this most honored of survivors wasn’t remembering him as much as remembering his Holocaust experience—and the lives and deaths of the millions who weren’t lucky enough to tell their own stories.” [DailyBeast]
TALK OF THE TOWN: “Story of Philistines Could Be Reshaped by Ancient Cemetery” by Nicholas St. Fluer: “After more than 30 years of excavating the remains of a Philistine city, a team of archaeologists says it believes it has found a cemetery belonging to the ancient people on the outskirts of Ashkelon in Israel. The team has unearthed skeletons and artifacts that it suspects had rested for more than 3,000 years in the cemetery, potentially offering clues to the Philistines’ lifestyle and perhaps providing some answers to the mysteries of where the Philistines came from.” [NYTimes; NPR]
SPORTS BLINK: “Canadian Denis Shapovalov wins boys’ Wimbledon title” by Stu Cuwan:“Canada had a shot at three championships on Sunday, but Denis Shapovalov was the only winner, beating Australia’s Alex De Minaur 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 in the boys’ singles final to start the day on the No. 1 Court. Shapovalov was born in Tel Aviv, Israel, but his family moved to Canada when he was only 9 months old.” [TorontoSun]
DESSERT: “Young Israeli takes bite out of New York’s high-end hummus market” by Renee Ghert-Zand: “Ohad Fisherman left Israel for New York in late 2012 to work in real estate, but it turned out that hummus was his calling. According to Fisherman, demand for his Hummus Joonam far exceeds supply. He manages to make 1,000 containers of it every Thursday, selling out by Saturday at the latest. At $10 for an eight-ounce container, it really is only the wealthy who can afford the stuff. But this being Manhattan, Fisherman has had no trouble finding customers.” [ToI]
WEEKEND WEDDING — Alexandra Schildkraut, Evan Wasch: “Alexandra Schildkraut was married July 9 to Evan Wasch. Rabbi Ari Rosenberg officiated at Club Getaway in Kent, Conn. Mrs. Wasch, 30, is the director of marketing operations for the UJA-Federation of New York. Mr. Wasch, 32, is the senior vice president for basketball strategy and analytics for the National Basketball Association in Manhattan. The couple met while working for the N.B.A. in 2010. They started dating after being reintroduced by a mutual friend in 2013.” [NYTimes]
BIRTHDAYS: Harvard’s long time history professor whose focus was Russia and the Soviet Union, Richard Pipes (and father of Daniel Pipes) turns 93… Professor of Humanities at Yale and noted literary critic, Harold Bloom turns 86… Member of the UK’s House of Lords, formerly PM Tony Blair’s special envoy to the Middle East, Baron Michael Levy turns 72… Zeesy Schnur… Former COO of the DNC, Chief Strategy Officer at Share Our Strength, and director of community relations at the NBA, Josh Wachs… Member of the Editorial Board at the New York Daily News, Alyssa Katz… Legislative Director for Representative Tim Ryan, and former Fellow at the A J Committee, Anne Sokolov turns 31… as does her twin sister Kate Sokolov…